The First Christian Church.

November 26, 2021 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Acts - The Gospel in Motion

Topic: The Church, Christian Living Scripture: Acts 11:19–30

Our text this morning tells us that it was here in Antioch where disciples of Jesus were first called “Christians.” So what was it about these disciples that caused them to be called “Christian?” What was it about this church that those who belonged to this church were known as Christians? This church impacted their community, their city, and their world in a powerful way – so much so that outside observers attached to them the very name of Christ – Christian.

Today from our passage we will discover three identifying characteristics of an effective God glorifying, God honouring Church.

An effective God glorifying, God honouring church.…


In our text, we see an example of impressive church growth. From a small group of persecuted refugees, the church in Antioch saw large numbers of people come to Christ. In fact, three times Luke underscores the large numbers (11:21, 24, 26). But the reason this church experienced such remarkable growth was not that the leaders employed the latest church growth principles. They didn’t study the demographics of Antioch and come up with a strategy to market the church to the masses. Rather, the reason for the growth was simple: “The hand of the Lord was with them” (11:21). This was a church that God was blessing. That should be our aim, that the hand of the Lord would be with us.

To be a church that God blesses, we should learn from the church of Antioch. Antioch is set before us as an example. It was a church founded by simple believers who knew that God has called every Christian to serve Him. They proclaimed the gospel as the power of God for salvation to every one who believes. They operated by God’s grace, not by legalism. They saw grace as the motivation to go on with the Lord. Their leaders set the example and taught them from God’s Word. They were generous givers, trusting God to meet their needs. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and considerable numbers were brought to the Lord.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why (biblically) is evangelism every member’s responsibility? What implications does this have for our church?
  2. Why is it necessary for Christians to study the Bible?
  3. What is the difference between the root and the fruit as discussed (John 15:1-8)?
  4. What is our responsibility in terms of giving to missions and giving to help the poor? How far abroad do we apply this?

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